Details of Elmer’s discs may be “several weeks” away

| 17/01/2011

(CNS): The content of the discs reportedly containing the names of some 2,000 rich and famous individuals who, whistleblower Rudolf Elmer says, were using offshore centre to evade tax won’t be revealed for a few more weeks. Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, who has promised full disclosure of the content, told the world’s media in London on Monday morning that because of the focus on other issues (namely its cache of some 250,000 diplomatic cables) it could be several weeks before Elmer’s discs are properly reviewed and posted on the website. However, Assange said that both the Financial Times and Bloomberg are possible candidates that could be given the information ahead of time.

In a rare public appearance since his own arrest, the WikiLeaks boss said the files or parts of them may be given to the British government’s fraud investigators.

Elmer and Assange appeared together at a press conference in London at the Frontline Club ahead of Rudolf’s return to his native Switzerland, where he is to face trial for breaking that country’s secrecy laws and stealing information from Julius Baer, a Swizz based bank. However, the documents that Elmer is said to have taken from the bank and handed to Wikileaks in 2007 were taking from its Cayman Islands subsidiary, where Elmer was based for eight years before he was sacked in 2002.

On this latest disc Elmer claims there are details of the financial dealings of at least 40 politicians, among others, which he said he wanted to hand over to Wikileaks before he went on trial. At the press conference Elmer denied any wrongdoing and said he was on the side of right. The former Cayman based banker said he wanted people to know the truth about money concealed in offshore accounts.

“I do think, as a banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong," said Elmer, " "I have been there, I have done the job, I know what the day-to-day business is, I know how much is documented there and how much is not. I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. From that point of view, I wanted to let society know what I know. It is damaging our society."

Assange praised the former banker’s attempts to expose alleged shady practices in the financial industry.

Elmer’s former employers claim that he had embarked on a personal intimidation campaign and vendetta against Julius Baer. “He also used falsified documents and made death threats against employees,” the bank has stated.

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  1. Dagny says:

    Elmer was fired in 2002.   Whatever he has on these discs is older than that.  So?  He doesn’t have to go sneaking around like a thief in the night to send this information out.  With all of the TIEAs Cayman has in place with the key G-20 nations,and the information exchange agreement as part of the EU Savings Directive (since 2005) this information is accessible to any regulator or government investigator anyway.  He has made a sensationalist story that the media are gulping up, but the reason you don’t hear sounds of panic around here is that there is no news on those discs.  

    The UK and US governments are aching under tremendous debt burden.  Rather than doing the fiscally responsible thing and cutting the size of their operations, they are looking for easy win solutions  – playing guns in the media is certainly easy.

    If other countries are upset about the fact that they cannot collect enough of their own taxes, then they need to change their own tax laws that will prevent the use of offshore financial centres as a pooling platform.  They do not do this, however, because ultimately they know that in the globalised world we live in, the big multinational companies that use offshore centres will pack up their very mobile operations and move them to more competitive tax jurisdictions.  All those jobs go out the window and all the other ancillary tax associated with a thriving economy goes with it. 

    Sorry Rudolf, but in this case your nose ain’t so bright.   whatever you have there is old news. That is why you resorted to Assange – there wasn’t a regulator or a tax man interested in what you have.  Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame before you head off to your comfy Swiss jail. 

    Note the difference between what is legal and what is not.  The role that Cayman plays is legal – Rudolf’s was not.  I love how easily that gets turned around…..


  2. Just a Warnin' says:

    Caymanians guilty too? Maybe.

    The way American tax law is structured, all of its citizens are required to file a tax return if they receive income over a few hundred dollars per year – regardless of age or place of residence. Capital gains (profit) on the sale of property or stock are also subject to reporting and taxation.

    Even if you are a Caymanian who has lived here all your life and never set foot in the U.S.A., if you are also an American citizen you fall under the shadow of the American IRS and could get "whistleblown"! In the case of earned-income, the U.S. tax burden may be lighter for offshore residents, but it is not eliminated, nor is the requirement to file a return eliminated because of your residence and/or your employment or business being outside the USA.

    Caymanians (natural or paper) who also possess U.S. citizenship by right or naturalisation (and there are many living here) could be found guilty of a crime if they do not file an IRS tax return each year. There is pretty much no exception to this.

    Caymanian-Americans holding or being a controlling signatory to an offshore (Caymanian) bank account or company must report this to the IRS. Thus, the non-working spouseof a wage earner – that spouse being a Caymanian holding U.S. citizenship – are liable to report to the IRS if they have any control (basically, are a signatory to) a personal or business bank account or a company here in Cayman or elsewhere.

    It is significant to note that in 2006, the U.S. enacted a Tax Whistleblower Law  that provides for financial compensation to persons who provide information about tax fraud or other illegal tax avoidance. Such whistleblowers may get paid between 15% and 30% of the amount (original tax due, plus penalties and interest) collected by the IRS acting on the information provided by the whistleblower! The subject of whistleblowing could end with substantial fines and penalties and could wind up with a hefty jail term.

    In addition to the new Whistleblower law, there exists a Special Agreement Awards Program. Although this programme  kinda sounds like an airline travel miles incentive, it is serious business! An individual with information on a person who has violated a tax law can negotiate with the IRS before they provide any information. The violation can relate to tax evasion, underpaying tax, tax fraud, or other violations of IRS code. The amount of compensation is based on the quality of information the whistleblower provides, but can be up to 15% of the tax and penalties collected, to a maximum of $10,000,000.

    Both the new Whistleblower Law and the Special Agreement Awards Program provide for total anonymity for the whistleblower.

    In a tax jurisdiction such as the Cayman Islands with lots of rich Americans and "Caymericans", whistleblowing could prove to be a very lucrative endeavour.  I can envision Cayman’s version of "The Bounty Hunter" emerging. (Sure beats robbing Domino’s Pizza.) Most of the readers here personally know some of the wealthy Caymanians who proudly flash their American passport when they travel to the U.S. If he or she does not pay U.S. income tax or file a tax return, they may be fair game there, Dawg.

    Because of the tax treaties we signed with the USA, the Cayman Islands government pretty much assures that you will be hung out to dry once an investigation commences and information on your financial stuff is requested by the IRS.

    I personally despise any form of income tax and consider the USA a reprehensibly greedy country to tax those not living in the country, but dem is de laws. I am writing this because as the USA gets greedier it is just a matter of time before Uncle Sam comes after every little penny it can get its moneygrubing hands on. Judging by the fair number of  "Caymericans" here in the Cayman Islands, things could get kinda nasty.

    The moral of the story: If you are Caymanian and were born in the USA or have an American passport or are qualified to get one, or you otherwise possess American citizenship, you more than likely fall under the ominous shadow of the IRS. You are probably required by law to file a tax return if you have any practical income (whatever the source) or if your name is on a bank account a bank account or company shares here. If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional who is qualified to give advice on your status under American tax law.  Don’t be subject to being "whistleblown"!

  3. Anonymous says:

    In case anyone is blind to the truth, helping the rich not pay taxes is our bread and butter in Cayman. This is what a lot of the big offshore banks and firms do. Why are we so surprised?


    Do you think we just one day popped up on someone’s grey list for the fun of it? Do you think people just like to pick on us because they can?


    The truth is the Cayman Islands operate shady business in the worlds’ eye. Why are we all soblind to the truth and chose not to acknowledge the 500 pound gorilla in the room?


    As nice as these waters are, the ways these firms make money is just shady. Just because it is legal does not mean it is right.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      And your point is???

      What is legal is relatively simple to arrive using fairly objective means.

      "Right" is in the eye of the beholder. So is "shady".

      I deem income taxes to be work of Satan. I esteem anyone who can devise a way to avoid income tax a doer of righteousness who is working for God Himself.  You, on the other hand – seeing as how you seem to consider consider the tax avoidance business "shady" – might get all hot and breathless at the overwhelmingly arousing idea of forking over a sizable chunk of your income to a greedy and wasteful government even before the cash reaches your tax-loving hands. To each his own. What is wrong is for the tax-loving countries, who themselves enshrine tax avoidance loopholes in their laws, demonise tax-free jurisdictions. It is pure politricks.

      It is noteworthy that much of this soon-to-be-leaked information may involve perfectly legal tax avoidance using trusts.  Stories about a "whistle blower" make for sensational headlines, but in the end this may prove to be much ado about nothing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who was in-charge of the Cayman office when this happened? How come no word from the local office on the topic? Not a peep…

    Something troubling about that !

  5. That is why computers were invented says:

     Computers and databases need to be protected…..back up and lock up folks!

    Agree with 18:01, Where is that new data protection law???

    Also, should any company that deals with data be required to keep electronic records?  If so, how do we keep these stored "local" and safe?

  6. Absurdistani says:

    The Swiss are charging this man with a crime.

    Why is the Cayman Islands AG not charging him?!?! After all this data was taken from a Cayman branch. Surely this is a breach of Cayman’s confidentiality laws. 


    Just another day in Absurdistan.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We brought this on ourselves listenng to the political dodo birds pushing their foool fool agenda and that of their foreign backers time to tighten up things round this place Cayman. They carry the game while Caymanians get blame and our children will carry the shame.

  8. Anonymous says:

    All the banks within banks will be holding out in their bunkers until the flack has gone

  9. whodatis says:

    I am beginning to believe that Elmer is an overt "secret agent" working on the behalf of London / New York etc. … you know, our competitors.

    I say this because the jurisdiction (Cayman Islands) is quickly becoming the meat and potatoes of this story / scandal.

    Actually – scratch that. What am I saying?!

    For a minute there I almost forgot about the overlap, cohesion and common interest of the most influential powers in the western world:

    Money | Media | Military

    Luckily for us we are too tiny to have a standing army, otherwise we would be well advised to begin rounding up the troops.

    *Make no mistake about it – this story is all over the global media. The mother of a friend of mine that lives way over in rural Russia forwarded her concerns onto me just this evening.

    It is about to get very interesting folks …

    • Es stultior asino says:

       "I say this because the jurisdiction (Cayman Islands) is quickly becoming the meat and potatoes of this story / scandal."

      I wonder why?

      Could it be because Elmer worked in CAYMAN as head of Julis Baer (cayman) and stole the records from the office in CAYMAN

      So obviously him releasing these records about CAYMAN will mean the story is about CAYMAN

      Please try and utilise the brain WDI

      • whodatis says:

        Clearly the gist of my post was lost on you.

        I guess it has to be s-p-e-l-l-e-d out for some folks.

  10. You don't get it... says:

     How many Caymanians know HOW to do this – oh well, go….

    Seriously – you were just looking for a rise, and you got it.  Get over the rhetoric ( and realise this is a disgruntled employee.  Would you have rather he went – to use a generic term – POSTAL – and brought a gun to the office and blasted away at EXPATS AND LOCALS working alongside each other like they do every day???

    Put your energy and thought (… <vacant space> …) into trying to ensure (w/b)ankers that don’t get their way cannot destroy the goose that laid the golden (satellite dish, car, grocery store, a/c, etc. that you readily embrace when it suits you ) EGG!!!

    Divisiveness is NOT the answer – united we stand – divided we fall – and we Caymanians will be the poster children for DIVIDED for generations to come.

    I hope to be one of the survivor Caymanians when my fellow ignoramouses blast each other to bits in a futile attempt to prove… WHATEVER…



  11. Anonymous says:

    please let me not be on the list

    please let me be not on the list

    please let me be not on the list… 

  12. Anonymous says:

    The TV stations in germany are reporting this issue all day long (cayman islands pictures maps etc.) – of Mr. Elmer. It is probably one of the biggest negative reputation against the Cayman Islands. Now the word  tax haven = cayman islands. Good job Mr. Elmer. Instead of concerning about the spanish goverment " Cayman Islands not anymore a tax haven" you should really start a campaign in germany, austria and swiss – to get a good reputation again.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You cant beat knowing the truth.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Has anone paused to wonder why the Attorney General/CIG is as silent as it presently is?  Perhaps the degree of urgency over the eventual and required repeal of the CRPL, which has not yet happened and its replacement by Data protection legislation is now long overdue   

    • Anonymous says:

      When have you ever heard the Attorney General speak out on anything? 

    • EyesWideOpen says:

      Like George Bush once said, "read my lips", well we should "jog our memory" on AG Bulgin’s response to serious significant controversial matters, "not getting involved".

      Really now, what purpose is he serving to this country besides adding to the expediture burden????????

  15. Anonymous says:

    How many Caymanians have done this?

    oh well…. go local next time.

  16. My2Cents says:

    The Yahoo news article on the story does not even mention the Cayman Islands: